Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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The Life and Exploits
of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes, Translated by Charles Jarvis, Esq.

The First Part

CHAPTER XI: Of what befell Don Quixote with certain Goatherds.


He was kindly received by the goatherds; and Sancho, having accommodated Rozinante and his ass the best he could, followed the scent of certain pieces of goat's flesh that were boiling in a kettle on the fire; and though he would willingly at that instant have tried whether they were fit to be translated from the kettle to the stomach, he forebore doing it; for the goatherds themselves took them off the fire, and spreading some sheepskins on the ground, very speedily served up their rural mess, and invited them both, with show of much good-will, to take share of what they had. Six of them that belonged to the fold sat down round about the skins, having -[38]- first with rustic compliments desired Don Quixote to seat himself upon a trough with the bottom upwards, placed on purpose for him. Don Quixote sat down, and Sancho remained standing to serve the cup, which was made of horn. His master seeing him standing, said to him, "That you may see, Sancho, the intrinsic worth of knight-errantry, and how fair a prospect its meanest retainers have of speedily gaining the respect and esteem of the world, I desire that you sit here by my side, in company with these good folks, and that you be one and the same thing with me, who am your master and natural lord; that you eat from off my plate, and drink of the same cup in which I drink: for the same may be said of knight-errantry which is said of love, that it makes all things equal." "I give you a great many thanks, Sir," said Sancho; "but let me tell your worship, that provided I have victuals enough I can eat as well or better, standing and alone by myself, than if I were seated close by an emperor. And farther, to tell you the truth, what I eat in my corner without compliments or ceremonies, though it were nothing but bread and an onion, relishes better than turkeys at other folks' tables, where I am forced to chew leisurely, drink little, wipe my mouth often, neither sneeze nor cough when I have a mind, nor do other things which follow the being alone and at liberty. So that, good Sir, as to these honours your worship is pleased to confer upon me as a menial servant and hanger-on of knight-errantry, being squire to your worship, be pleased to convert them into something of more use and profit to me: for though I place them to account as received in full, I renounce them from this time forward to the end of the world." "Notwithstanding all this," said Don Quixote, "you shall sit down; for whosoever humbleth himself, God doth exalt; "and pulling him by the arm, he forced him to sit down next him. The goatherds did not understand this jargon of squires and knights-errant, and did nothing but eat, and listen, and stare at their guests, who with much cheerfulness and appetite, swallowed down pieces as big as one's fist. The service of flesh being finished, they spread upon the skins a great quantity of acorns, together with half a cheese, harder than if it had been made of plaster of Paris. The horn stood not idle all this while; for it went round so often, now full, now empty, like the bucket of a well, that they presently emptied one of the two wine-bags that hung in view. After Don Quixote had satisfied his hunger, he took up an handful of acorns, and looking on them attentively, gave utterance to expressions like these:

"Happy times, and happy ages! those to which the ancients gave the name of golden, not because gold, which in this our iron age is so much esteemed, was to be had in that fortunate period without toil and labour, but because they who then lived were ignorant of these two words Meum and Teum. In that age of innocence all things were in common: no one needed to take any other pains for his ordinary sustenance than to lift up his hands and take it from the sturdy oaks, which stood inviting him liberally to taste of their sweet and relishing fruit. The limpid fountains and running streams offered them, in magnificent abundance, their delicious and transparent waters. In the clefts of rocks, and in the hollow of trees, did the industrious and provident bees form their commonwealths, offering to every hand, without usury, the fertile produce of their most delicious toil. The stout cork-trees, without any other inducement than that of their own courtesy, divested themselves of their light and expanded bark; with which men began to cover their houses, supported by rough poles, only for -[39]- a defence against the inclemency of the seasons. All then was peace, all amity, all concord. As yet the heavy coulter of the crooked plough had not dared to force open, and search into, the bowels of our first mother, who, unconstrained, offered, from every part of her fertile and spacious bosom, whatever might feed, sustain, and delight those her children, who then had her in possession. Then did the simple and beauteous young shepherdesses trip it from dale to dale, and from hill to hill, their tresses sometimes plaited, sometimes loosely flowing, with no more clothing than was necessary modestly to cover what modesty has always required to be concealed: nor were their ornaments then like those now in fashion, to which the Tyrian purple and the so-many-ways martyred silk give a value; but composed of green dock-leaves and ivy, interwoven; with which, perhaps, they went as splendidly and elegantly decked as our court ladies do now, with all those rare and foreign inventions which idle curiosity hath taught them. Then were the amorous conceptions of the soul clothed in simple and sincere expressions, in the same way and manner they were conceived, without seeking artificial phrases to set them off. Nor as yet were fraud, deceit, and malice, intermixed with truth and plain dealing. Justice kept within her proper bounds; favour and interest, which now so much depreciate, confound, and persecute her, not daring then to disturb or offend her. As yet the judge did not make his own will the measure of justice; for then there was neither cause nor person to be judged. Maidens and modesty, as I said before, went about alone and mistress of themselves, without fear of any danger from the unbridled freedom and lewd designs of others; and if they were undone, it was entirely owing to their own natural inclination and will. But now in these detestable ages of ours, no damsel is secure, though she were hidden and locked up in another labyrinth like that of Crete; for even there, through some cranny, or through the air, by the zeal of cursed importunity, the amorous pestilence finds entrance, and they miscarry in spite of their closest retreat. For the security of whom, as times grew worse, and wickedness increased, the order of Knight-errantry was instituted to defend maidens, to protect widows, and to relieve orphans and persons distressed. Of this order am I, brother goatherds, from whom I take kindly the good cheer and civil reception you have given me and my squire: for though by the law of nature every one living is obliged to favour knights-errant, yet knowing that without your being acquainted with this obligation you have entertained and regaled me, it is but reason that with all possible goodwill towards you I should acknowledge yours to me."

Our knight made this tedious discourse, which might very well have been spared, because the acorns they had given him put him in mind of the golden age, and inspired him with an eager desire to make this strange harangue to the goatherds: who stood in amaze, gaping and listening without answering him a word. Sancho himself was silent, stuffing himself with acorns, and often visiting the second wine-bag, which, that the wine might be cool, was kept hung upon a cork-tree.

Don Quixote spent more time in talking than in eating; and supper being over, one of the goatherds said: "That your worship, Signor Knight-errant, may the more truly say that we entertain you with a ready good-will, we will give you some diversion and amusement by making one of our comrades sing, who will soon be here. He is a very intelligent lad, and deeply enamoured; and above all, can read and write, and plays upon the -[40]- rebeck (38) to your heart's content." The goatherd had scarce said this when the sound of the rebeck reached their ears, and presently after came he that played on it, who was a youth of about two-and-twenty, and of a very good mien. His comrades asked him if he had supped; and he answering, yes; "Then, Antonio," said he who had made the offer, "you may afford us the pleasure of hearing you sing a little, that this gentleman our guest may see we have here among the mountains and woods some that understand music. We have told him your good qualities, and would have you show them and make good what we have said; and therefore I entreat you to sit down and sing the ditty of your loves, which your uncle the prependary composed for you, and which was so well liked in our village." "With all my heart," replied the youth; and without farther entreaty, he sat down upon the trunk of an old oak, and tuning his rebeck, after a while with a singular good grace he began to sing as follows:


Yes, lovely nymph, thou art my prize;
    I boast the conquest of thy heart,
Though nor thy tongue, nor speaking eyes,
    Have yet revealed the latent smart.

Thy wit and sense assure my fate,
    In them my love's success I see;
Nor can he be unfortunate,
    Who dares avow his flame for thee.

Yet sometimes hast thou frown'd, alas!
    And given my hopes a cruel shock;
Then did thy soul seem form'd of brass,
    Thy snowy bosom of the rock.

But in the midst of thy disdain,
    Thy sharp reproaches, cold delays,
Hope from behind, to ease my pain,
    The border of her robe displays.

Ah! lovely maid! in equal scale
    Weigh well thy shepherd's truth and love,
Which ne'er, but with his breath, can fail,
    Which neither frowns nor smiles can move.

If love, as shepherds wont to say,
    Be gentleness and courtesy,
So courteous is Olalia,
    My passion will rewarded be.

And if obsequious duty paid
    The grateful heart can never move,
Mine sure, my fair, may well persuade
    A due return, and claim thy love.

For, to seem pleasing in thy sight,
    I dress myself with studious care,
And, in my best apparel dight,
    My Sunday clothes on Monday wear.

And shepherds say, I'm not to blame;
    For cleanly dress and spruce attire
Preserve alive love's wanton flame,
    And gently fan the dying fire.

To please my fair, in mazy ring
    I join the dance, and sportive play,
And oft beneath thy window sing,
    When first the cock proclaims the day.  -[41]-

With rapture on each charm I dwell,
    And daily spread thy beauty's fame;
And still my tongue thy praise shall tell,
    Though envy swell, or malice blame.

Teresa of the Berrocal,
    When once I prais'd you, said in spite;
Your mistress you an angel call,
    But a mere ape is your delight:

Thanks to the bugle's artful glare,
    And all the graces counterfeit:
Thanks to the false and curled hair,
    Which wary love himself might cheat.

I swore 'twas false; and said she lied;
    At that her anger fiercely rose:
I box'd the clown that took her side,
    And how I box'd my fairest knows.

I court thee not, Olalia,
    To gratify a loose desire;
My love is chaste without alloy
    Of wanton wish, or lustful fire.

The church hath silken cords that tie
    Consenting hearts in mutual bands:
If thou, my fair, its yoke will try,
    Thy swain its ready captive stands.

If not, by all the saints I swear,
    On these bleak mountains still to dwell,
Nor ever quit my toilsome care,
    But for the cloister and the cell.

Here ended the goatherd's song, and though Don Quixote desired him to sing something else, Sancho Panza was of another mind, being more disposed to sleep than to hear ballads; and therefore he said to his master: "Sir, you had better consider where you are to lie to-night; for the pains these honest men take all day will not suffer them to pass the nights in singing." "I understand you, Sancho," answered Don Quixote; "for I see plainly that the visits to the wine-bag require to be paid rather with sleep than music." "It relished well with us all, blessed be God," answered Sancho. "I do not deny it," replied Don Quixote; "but lie down where you will, for it better becomes those of my profession to watch than to sleep. However, it would not be amiss, Sancho, if you would dress this ear again; for it pains me more than it should." Sancho did what he was commanded; and one of the goatherds seeing the hurt bid him not be uneasy, for he would apply such a remedy as should quickly heal it. And taking some rosemary leaves, of which there was plenty thereabouts, he chewed them and mixed them with a little salt, and laying them to the ear, bound them on very fast, assuring him he would want no other salve; and so it proved.


Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

Gavilan Spanish Questions or comments Bibliographic Record Index page Previous page Top Next page